Lecture with Prof. Maria Rhode: Emotional factors in sense perception in children on the autistic spectrum

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Organised by:

Frances Tustin Memorial Trust

15 October 2023

Time: 18:30 - 20:15

Price: 25 euros

Location: online


This lecture is part of the online series of lectures organized by The Frances Tustin Memorial Trust and it will take place through zoom on Sunday, October the 15th, 2023, at 20:30, Israel time. Registration is open till Wednesday, October the 11th, 2023, midnight, Israel time. Please respect this deadline. The link to zoom will be sent on Saturday, October the 14th, 2023.

Abstract: Frances Tustin described vividly the existential bodily terrors of children with autism, including falling, spilling out, and bodily mutilation. She also emphasized the fundamental importance for development of integrating masculine and feminine, and their precursors, hard and soft.

In this paper, I suggest that children on the autism spectrum, like other people, interpret their experience in terms of family models. This has nothing to do with the etiology of autism, but concerns the meaning that may be attributed to experiences with a variety of causes. I also suggest that there exists an “autistic” level of the Oedipus complex, concerned with bodily existential anxieties (in contrast to Freud’s whole object Oedipus complex that concerns sexual identity, or Klein’s part object level that concerns psychotic anxieties). This “autistic” Oedipus complex links with Britton’s conceptualization of existential anxieties in borderline adults, with the additional feature of occurring on a bodily level. It can have important implications for the meaning attributed to the sensory hypersensitivity that is so often found in children with autism, and can contribute to understanding the confusion between the senses that can sometimes be observed clinically.

Clinical vignettes illustrate the importance of primitive Oedipal constellations for the integration of the senses and for the capacity for self-reflection.

Link for registration: https://secure.cardcom.solutions/EA/EA5/seaGGUUskCIGH6FBMK9Dw/Intro

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